24th Mar2013

‘The Inside’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Tereza Srbova, Emmett J. Scanlan, Sean Stewart, Natalia Kostrzewa, Brian Fortune | Written and Directed by Eoin Macken

The-Inside

Opening with a man pawning a ring for 75 euros and a camcorder, all accompanied by the voiceover of a radio DJ talking about three girls going missing of the streets of Dublin, The Inside soon transforms into yet another found-footage film as the man discovers the camcorder still has a tape in it and plays it back. However what he sees isn’t merely footage of a group of girls on a night out, but footage of the girls descent into madness and the very depths of hell.

I absolutely hated, and I really mean hated, The Inside for the first 35 minutes of its running time. Shot in a first person perspective, the film started out with a group of obnoxious girls on a night out. It then descended into a series of jump-cut scenes of three psychos attacking and raping the girls in an abandoned warehouse (a stupid place for the girls to party in the first place). Between the ridiculous shaky-cam footage and the annoying screams of the girls I was ready to call it a day on the film.

But then something happened. Mid-rape one of the three psychos is suddenly torn off the girl he is molesting, followed swiftly by the girl disappearing too! From then on the film takes a turn for the bizarre as it turns out the girls and the psychos are (possibly) not alone…

To be brutally honest The Inside is not my type of genre film. By now, given the fact I mention it every time I’m lumbered with reviewing one, you all know I hate found-footage films. Nine times out of ten the filmmakers behind them get it wrong – both in terms of what makes a successful found-footage flick, but also what makes a really bad one. More often than not the choices behind making such a film err on the side of bad. The Inside however sits somewhere in the mid-ground.

Yes, the film makes a lot of stylistic errors, none more so than too much shaky-cam, too much incessant screaming and not enough plot. But it does – at times – feature some particularly creepy imagery, akin to that of Perry Teo’s Necromentia or John Michael Elfers’ Finale and to some extent Guillermo Del Toro’s Pans Labyrinth. And whilst it can’t compare to those films, what The Inside does do is offer up some interesting questions about what is worse: man or monster? And where do you draw the line? For that the film has to be commended. It’s just a shame that such a fantastic idea had to be wrapped up in such an annoying movie.

If the main crux of the film had been as good as the films central theme, and its creepy final moments, then perhaps writer/director Eoin Macken (who also stars in the movie as the man in the pawn shop who obtains the tape) would have been on to a winner with The Inside. As it is now he gets an “A for effort” and a commendation for at least trying to bring a more philosophical question to a much-maligned genre.

The Inside is released on DVD on March 25th.

* 1/5

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